My name is Emilia Vartiainen and I`m from Finland. My dream of volunteering abroad came true this summer 2017 in Indonesia. I volunteered for six weeks. I volunteered because I wanted to have a cultural exchange in a developing country, make a change for better, learn languages, learn about their culture and religion, live the local life and be part of their community.
The organisation Fatimah Azzahrah is making products of fish and selling them and also helping kids, women and elder people. I had a chance to do a lot of things and the local volunteer Rahmat Riyadi made things a lot easier and more efficient since he speaks both Indonesia and English. We had a English class for children two times a week, a self confidence and Finnish folkdance class for children, school visits, seminar of women empowerment and discussion, feeding the elder day and selling Fatimah Azzahrah`s products.
The self confidence class was held because sometimes the kids in a poor area face disrespect from the society. The idea is to make those kids feel important and boost their self confidence. In school visits we wanted to empower students to dream big and go after their dreams via cultural exchange and assignments. For example we told and showed some photos of women in Finland working as a police, judge, nurse, politician, CEO… and also combining work and family. With younger children playing games and having fun was in a bigger role in school visits.
You can also be creative with the activities. For example I made a song in English that would encourage the children to brush their teeths two times a day. We also had a theme against bullying where we talked and told bullying is not okay for example through theater with toys. Seeing kids learning and enjoying the time spent together is amazing.
I was also amazed to get to know the woman called Ibu Nuraeni. She is so inspirational and the person behind the Fatimah Azzahrah. Volunteering gave me so much and I had to step out of my comfort zone so many times that it was impossible to avoid growing up as a person. Volunteering in this project was everything I ever hoped for and so much more. I recommend this project very much!